Why use dogs?

Dogs’ scenting capability is awesome

  • All humans, dead or alive, constantly emit microscopic particles bearing human scent.
  • Millions of these particles are airborne and are carried by the wind for considerable distances.
  • Scientists estimate that dogs’ scenting capability is over 10,000 times better than that of a human.
  • Dogs can locate and follow air scent over large distances, some dogs demonstrating a scenting capability over a distance of half a kilometre.

Dogs can be trained to use their senses for the benefit of humans

  • The air scenting SAR dog is trained to locate the scent of any human in the air and works in a specific search area.
  • The dog is not restricted to the missing person’s track and can search long after any such track would be obliterated.
  • They do not require a piece of clothing to find someone, but will detect the presence of any human scent.
  • They are taught to ignore distractions (even rabbits) and with a trained ‘nose’ can accomplish scenting feats that are astonishing, even to their handlers.

Dogs can reach areas inaccessible to humans

  • They can work day or night in all kinds of weather, and are especially effective where human sight is most limited: in the dark, in dense woods or heavy brush, in debris, and under ground or snow.
  • Just one dog can do the work of 50 human searchers.
  • Air scenting dogs work off leash and usually at a canter. This allows the dog to range out from the handler covering large areas. Once they locate a human scent, they will go to the source of the scent and will then return to the handler and lead them back to the missing person. Even when visual sources are hampered, such as in foggy conditions or at night, the dog’s scenting capability is unimpaired. In fact, the air currents are usually more favourable at night and, since dogs use their noses not their eyes, they can search very effectively.